Global Classrooms: Cantabria
Fundación Botín

Created in 1964 by Marcelino Botín Sanz de Sautuola and his wife Carmen Yllera, the aims of the Botín Foundation are educational, scientific, cultural and social with the intention of encouraging a fairer, freer, more efficient, and more responsible society, in Spain and worldwide.

The head office of the Foundation is located in the city of Santander (Cantabria) in the house where the palaeontologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, grandfather of the Foundation's founder, lived with his family. This building, in the city centre, houses the offices, management, auditorium, conference room, archives and library.

The Foundation has three additional venues in Santander: an exhibition hall, located near its head office; Villa Iris, built in 1913, where art exhibitions and workshops are held; and the Promontorio, the house built from 1915 to 1918 where Emilio Botín-Sanz de Sautuola lived with his family. A fourth venue in Santander, the Botín Centre, is currently under construction and due for completion in 2014. In addition to its Santander locations, the Botín Foundation has recently opened a branch in Madrid.

View photos and videos of Global Classrooms: Cantabria.

The Foundation’s Programmes

It carries out programmes in the following fields:


  • Science
  • Rural Development
  • Art
  • Music
  • Observatory and Analysis of Trends
  • Research and Documentation Centre and Library
  • Other collaborations
More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found in English at www.fundacionbotin.org/?plangid=2.


In 2004 the Foundation began to work specifically in the educational field. As an educational agent that is rooted in the community, it is conscious of the need to act in conjunction with others to deal with the educational challenge facing us today. From the outset, we have worked closely with the Educational Council of the Regional Government of Cantabria, and with other official bodies with experience in this context. We create proposals to fulfill the educational needs of young children, within the framework of school, family and society in the 21st century, where constant changes take place, and so many open contradictions are apparent.

The Botín Foundation is committed to an education that promotes the healthy growth of children and young people, fostering their talent and creativity to help them become autonomous, competent, charitable and happy. It promotes an education that generates development and contributes to society’s progress.

There are three main areas of focus for this:

  1. An ambitious and innovative education programme called Responsible Education that involves 113 schools from Cantabria and Madrid. We work with special intensity with 48 of these schools. These schools take part in the Responsible Education Network.
  2. Training activities include important scholarships and programmes such as summer courses and the Master’s Degree in Social, Emotional and Creative Education, developed by the Botín Foundation and offered by the University of Cantabria, in addition to a teaching certification, giving excellent training opportunities to future teachers.
  3. The Platform for Innovation in Education is committed to the exchange of experiences, best practices and applied research by carrying out studies that generate knowledge and promote and disseminate the Foundation’s programme worldwide.
Responsible Education: The programme

Responsible Education is a joint programme with the Department of Education of the Government of Cantabria to enhance people’s physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth, promote communication and improve life in schools by working with teachers, pupils and families.

This programme helps children and young people to:

  • Get to know and believe in themselves.
  • Understand others.
  • Recognize and express their emotions and their ideas.
  • Develop self-control.
  • Learn to make responsible decisions.
  • Value and care for their health.
  • Improve their social skills.
  • Resolve problems and manage conflicts.
In order to achieve these objectives we offer schools training, monitoring, advice, evaluation and educational resources. These are some examples:

  • Tool Bench: Audiovisual resources to work on the personal and social skills of students 3 to 16 years old.
  • Reading Emotions: Books that help emotional development beginning in the pre-reading stages.
  • Music and Comprehensive Development: Concerts and musical activities focusing on universal  values.
  • ReflejArte: Artist and student exhibitions that boost self-esteem, empathy and creativity.
  • Language and Literature for Primary and Secondary Students: A resource to work on cognitive, emotional and social development through books and activities before, during, and after reading.
  • Global Classrooms: A United Nations simulation for students in bilingual high schools.

International research has shown in recent years that social and emotional education improves academic performance and student well-being. For three years the University of Cantabria has evaluated the intensive application of Responsible Education in three schools.

The results show that students participating in the programme have improved the following skills:

Emotional intelligence, specifically emotional clarity and the ability to identify and differentiate emotions and to use strategies to repair negative emotional states.

Assertiveness, or the ability to defend one’s rights and express ideas and feelings while respecting others and avoiding conflict.

Reduction in anxiety levels were also found.
These improvements have important and proven consequences for some of the most serious and hard-to-solve problems in our educational system: they help prevent drug use, improve cooperation, lower the level of violence, improve the pupil-teacher relationship and reduce the symptoms associated with child and teenage depression.

Furthermore, a correlation has been detected between school atmosphere and academic achievement. When relationships and communication amongst pupils and between pupils and their teachers improves, academic performance also increases.

Platform for Innovation in Education

The Platform is:

  • A meeting point for international experts through different working groups.
  • Compilation and distribution of experiences and good practices.
  • Design of assessment instruments.
  • A social and collaborative website for teacher participation.
For more information: www.botinplatform.com

Global Classrooms

We currently implement the Model United Nations: Global Classrooms programme in the following 17 secondary schools across Cantabria with students from 13 to 16 years old:

  • IES Miguel Herrero in Torrelavega
  • IES Villajunco in Santander
  •  IES Ría del Carmen in Muriedas
  • IES Valle de Camargo in Camargo
  • IES Marqués de Manzanedo in Santoña
  • IES Marismas in Santoña
  • IES Foramontanos in Cabezón de la Sal
  • IES Valle del Saja in Cabezón de la Sal
  • IES Cantabria in Santander
  • IES Montesclaros in Reinosa
  • IES Nuestra Señora de los Remedios in Guarnizo
  • CC Sagrados Corazones in Torrelavega
  • IES Estelas de Cantabria in Los Corrales de Buelna
  • IES Leonardo Torres Quevedo in Santander
  • IES El Alisal in Santander
  • IES José Hierro in San Vicente de la Barquera
Specifically, Global Classrooms promotes students’ personal and social skills while improving their English language skills at the same time, giving them opportunities to:

  • Promote self-esteem and empathy for others
  • Develop their active listening skills
  • Become expert researchers as they investigate problems related to specific countries/interest groups and issues
  • Develop a personal view of, and commitment to, a positive future and an understanding of the changes needed to bring it about
  • Acquire negotiation and consensus-building skills as they role-play as representatives of a particular country or interest group
  • Promote responsible decision making
  • Manage emotions and behaviours to achieve one’s goals
  • Identify international, national and local strategies for community development;
  • Develop social skills, public-speaking and debating skills as they articulate "their" country's/interest group's stance on issues ranging from global warming to waste management
  • Engage in critical thinking as they are challenged to take into account the views and opinions of the many other governments and interest groups represented at the Model UN conference
  • Learn to respect others' views as they interact with people who are different from themselves
  • Use cooperative learning methodology
 To implement the program, the Foundation recruits and trains Fulbright scholars who work as Teaching Assistants and direct the Global Classrooms program in participating schools. In addition, other agents working within the local communities are invited to participate in the project.

Further information on the Foundation: http://www.fundacionbotin.org
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